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Shenandoah University Intensive English as a Second Language offers rigorous academic instruction in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar-in-use to intermediate and advanced nonnative speakers of English. Our goal is to provide the English language skills and cultural knowledge you need to succeed in an American university and beyond. Our highly qualified and experienced instructors and staff will ensure that your experience here is a productive and pleasant one. At IESL, not only will you learn English, you will also meet students from around the world and make friends that will last a lifetime!

Located in historic Winchester, Virginia, just 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., IESL is convenient to major American cities along the United States East Coast. This blending of a safe, friendly community with easy access to large urban areas makes IESL the perfect place to live, to study, and to learn.

What Our Program Offers You

Our Curriculum

Whether your goal is to study full time at an English-speaking university, advance your career, or simply increase and polish your English language proficiency, IESL will prepare you to succeed through a comprehensive course of instruction adapted to your particular needs. Full-time study includes 20 hours each week of coursework in oral communication (speaking and listening), reading, writing, and grammar-in-use, using the latest in innovative technologies and teaching methods.

All IESL courses are taught on the Shenandoah University main campus, so students are fully immersed in the American collegiate experience. Class sizes are kept small to give you personalized instruction in a pleasant, welcoming environment.

We offer sessions each fall and spring semester and one eight-week session each summer. Classes meet five days each week, from 10 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. And IESL instructors are always happy to meet with students outside of classes as needs arise.

Courses are taught at the intermediate and advanced levels only and are noncredit bearing. Successful completion of the IESL program is proficiency based as determined by attainment of TOEFL/IELTS scores that meet university admissions requirements.

Course Schedule




10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.



11: a.m. to 11:50 a.m.




1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.



2 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.

Oral Communication

Oral Communication

Our Teachers

All IESL instructors  have advanced degrees in the field of Teaching English as a Second Language, and many years of experience teaching in the United States and around the world. We believe that students succeed when they get specific, detailed feedback on their work, and we patiently but consistently push them to use their English in various academic and social situations to gain the skills and confidence required to meet their goals.

We also provide opportunities for IESL students to visit regular academic classes, as well as for professors from across the university to participate in IESL classes.

Other Benefits

In addition to a state-of the art curriculum, highly qualified and caring teachers, and the latest in teaching technology and methods, fulltime international IESL students have the same access to the campus facilities as students enrolled in credit-bearing programs. These include the Brandt Student Center for recreation and the Alson H. Smith, Jr. Library for study.

As an additional benefit, the Center for International Programs is always available to provide a safe haven, place to just hang out, and source of information for students from more than 40 countries around the world.

A Special Benefit

Fulltime international IESL students also participate in Shenandoah University’s innovative IMLearning program, in which they obtain a MacBook laptop computer for their personal and academic use during their SU careers. This is just one of the benefits that makes IESL special.

In addition, fulltime international students may use one of many desktop computers located across the Shenandoah University campus.

Please see our program costs.

Who may apply/How it works

Admission to IESL is open to all nonnative English speaking students with minimum scores of 45 on iBT (Internet TOEFL), 450 on Paper TOEFL, or 5.0 on IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Priority will be given to those who study full time.

Upon arrival to campus, students complete placement exams to determine their levels of listening/reading/grammar, speaking, and writing and are placed in four skills classes: oral communication (speaking and listening), reading, writing, and grammar-in-use. Classes meet five days per week for all sessions. Skill classes run concurrently to allow students to be placed at appropriate level for each individual skill.

For more information about our programs, please contact Dr. Steven Humphries, at shumphri@su.edu. We look forward to hearing from you and, we hope, welcoming you to the great experience that is Shenandoah University IESL!